The Brownsville Chamber of Commerce held a webinar on Tuesday where guest speaker Julian Alvarez III, commissioner representing labor for the Texas Workforce Commission, talked about the reopening of the economy and the extended unemployment benefits in Texas.
Alvarez said the Texas Workforce Commission receives on average 62 calls per every second of the day from people asking for help about employment. He said due to the high volume of calls the commission started opening on Sundays and expanded the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. He added that a lot of the information the community needs it’s on the official website.
“Many people in South Texas have experienced not being able to get through the agency as a result of the high-call volume,” he said.
Alvarez talked about the extended unemployment benefits in Texas such as the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), all of which are 100 percent federally funded.
>>The PEUC benefits are available up to 13 weeks and apply to claims dated on or after July 8, 2018., have exhausted all entitlement to regular UI benefits, not eligible in another state and must exhaust benefits by Dec. 20 of this year
>>The PUA benefits are available up to 39 weeks, individuals not monetarily eligible for regular benefits may qualify, benefits may be reduced by number of weeks on REG or EB and the last payable week is Dec. 26 of this year
>>The FPUC, which is $600 per week, is in addition to benefit payment for all those receiving payment. The first payable week is April 4, 2020 and the last payable week is July 25 of the same year
Alvarez said individuals with 1099 forms and individual contractors are also eligible to receive benefits.
“In some cases, people are going to be making more money now, unfortunately, than they get while they were employed. But that’s a good sign, we wanted the money out there,” Alvarez said.
In addition to the unemployment benefits, Alvarez said there are more than 5,000 job postings available at the Texas Workforce Commission official website for a variety of careers. He said that while the unemployment rate may be high in some areas, in Brownsville there are a lot of job openings.
“The unemployment rate, though it may be high in some areas, in Brownsville, certainly there are some areas where people are unemployed, but I would tell you that there’s a listing of those employers that are currently hiring and there are a large number of folks in South Texas that are hiring now,” he said.
For more information about the benefits and job openings, visit twc.texas.gov.